Manitoba

Winnipeg councillor unapologetic after false tweet about mayor

A Winnipeg city councillor said he doesn't owe Mayor Brian Bowman an apology after posting a false rumour on social media the mayor was about to vacate his seat and leave the city.

Coun. Ross Eadie later posted correction about tweet claiming Mayor Brian Bowman is set to leave Winnipeg

Coun. Ross Eadie said he doesn't owe Mayor Brian Bowman an apology after erroneously tweeting the mayor was planning to leave Winnipeg. (CBC)

A Winnipeg city councillor said he doesn't owe Mayor Brian Bowman an apology after posting a false rumour on social media that the mayor was about to leave his job for one in federal politics.

On Wednesday morning, Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie posted a claim on Twitter and Facebook that Bowman was planning to take a federal appointment and "jump off the sinking ship he created in Winnipeg." Eadie wrote the rumour Bowman was planning to leave his job had been circulating "for months."

Three hours later, after a phone call with the mayor, Eadie posted a correction, saying the original tweet was a "false alarm" but still accusing the mayor of "mismanagement."

Following the phone conversation, Eadie said he believed Bowman when he said he wasn't leaving — but didn't offer the mayor an apology.

"I don't think I have to apologize," Eadie said. "I believe I did him a favour. He can clarify the false rumour."

Winnipeg city Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) erroneously tweeted Wednesday morning Mayor Brian Bowman was set to leave Winnipeg and vacate his seat as mayor. (Ross Eadie/Twitter)

Eadie said the mayor should have addressed the rumour earlier.

The councillor said he hasn't deleted the original posts because he doesn't know how. Eadie, who is blind, said neither Twitter nor Facebook are very accessible.

No talks with Jets, ballet, Bowman quips

Eadie said he'd heard the rumour Bowman was leaving over the weekend, and got a text Wednesday morning claiming the mayor would receive the appointment in the next day or two.

The councillor said he didn't contact Bowman directly before tweeting about it because he didn't expect to hear back in a timely manner.

"I got the text message this morning and I just sent it out," he said. "It's surprising to hear something like that, and I just wanted to make sure, if it is true, that people are held accountable."

Three hours after his original tweet, Coun. Eadie posted a correction online. (Ross Eadie/Twitter)

The mayor kept his tongue firmly planted in cheek as he addressed the posts in a Wednesday afternoon scrum with reporters, following a meeting of council's executive policy committee.

"Maybe breaking news — I also haven't been having discussions with the Winnipeg Jets about being traded to play centre for the team," he said. "I'm also not trying out for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet."

He also offered a more serious critique of the rumour, which he said he's heard before.

"I know there are folks that are unnamed, kind of operating in the shadows. It's kind of as old-school [a] political trick as they come, to try to perpetuate rumours like this to cause distractions and smear," he said.

He added he'd be interested to discover where the rumour originated.

"There have been absolutely no discussions with anyone at any level of government regarding any appointments," he said.

"Anyone that is suggesting otherwise is lying."

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